Monday, January 30, 2012

Catching Up


I am trying to "catch up"...with my UFOs.  I have caught several  of them and wrestled them to my sewing table to turn into finished projects.  What's the acronym for finished projects by the way?  Are you making any progress catching up with your UFOs?  I'd love to hear your success stories.  I want to finish as many of these projects as I can before I start new projects.  The exception to that rule follows:

I have joined or rejoined two bees that will put me in danger of ignoring my UFOs to work on something else - but I will gladly do that because these bees are very special.  First, I have rejoined the 4x5 Bee (Quarter 1 2012) to add another round of blocks to my Summer Sampler.  I will be a Caretaker of a Hive this round.  That should be interesting!  The concept is that each hive has 5 members and each round lasts for a quarter of the year.  Each member provides a mosaic of "their" colors and favorite blocks.  Then you select a block, make the same block for each member of your hive in their colors.  Mail out by the deadline (which is April 15 2012 for Quarter 1). 

This will be my Summer Sampler.  I asked for aqua, orange with touches of yellow, green, blue - the colors of summer.  A few more rounds and this bad boy will be finished!

The second bee that I have joined is the Pillow Talk Swap Round 7.  I have admired the beautiful work that these gals do in creating a pillow top for their secret swap partner but didn't feel that my pillow making skills were up to snuff.  I have been practicing making pillows and hope that I can bring my A game to this swap.  I have been assigned a partner, selected a block and am working on fabric selection.  I have chosen a rather striking paper pieced block that may be a challenge to put together.  More to come on this subject!

I've also been thinking about some future projects and purchased some fabric for these as yet unstarted projects:

First, a little Aunt Edna by Denyse Schmidt made its way into my sewing room.  I did not purchase the whole collection, just the pieces that caught my eye:


Go figure - they're mostly orange.  My favorite color.  Will I ever grow tired of it?

Doesn't that Kona Mulberry look good with this DS orange print?  As I said, another project is getting started here!

But that was not the end of my fabric shopping.  A package showed up with some Kokka.  I have been wanting some Ruby Star Shining by Melody Miller but had never gotten around to getting me some.  These are my favorites of my purchase:


Some fussy cutting will be going on with these super cool fabrics!  Too bad the color is off in the photo or you could see the wonderful shade of green of the alarm clocks on the left. 

The problem with waiting too long to buy a fabric line is that you can't get it anywhere.  Or you have to pay extra for it (as happend with the typewriter fabric).  Heather Ross fabric comes to mind - those mermaids are really hard to find! 

I have made some other fabric purchases, but I'll save them for another day.  Now I'm off to work.

That's it from the Robertson household.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

An Amazing Sew Day!

Rain?...rain...I remember those days.  We finally had rain in the Bay Area and snow in the mountains.  Just in time for the Bay Area Modern Quilt Guild first all day Sew Day at the Los Altos Library (we normally meet at Redwood City Library for our monthly meetings, but could not get big weekend blocks of time for Sew Day).  We will continue to meet at the Redwood City Library for our monthly meetings, but will utilize the wonderful facilities at the Los Altos Library for our special Sew Days. 

So, 23 members of the BAMQG showed up for our first sew day (10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.).  We had plenty of room to sew on our projects, ironing stations, cutting areas and a large snack area!  Members quilted, sewed, started new projects, worked on UFO's, made clothing, and shared stories, ideas, helpful hints and favorite books.

 Sheetal
 Diane
 Lynette
Deborah and Jennifer


Deborah and I both participated in a flickr swap called Teal We Meet Again (teal, red and white plus sign blocks).  We both needed to make more blocks, so we shared fabric and traded off blocks to get our projects finished. 

I made a number of new blocks and realized that I would have to keep going.  I went home and worked late into the night and then worked a few hours more on Sunday before the big game (49's and Giants in the playoffs).  I finished during the first quarter, and here is what I came up with:


Yes, that's Boo the Labradoodle, hogging the camera lens.  He was actually watching television, which is out of camera range and I couldn't get him to move away from the design wall as long as the television was on. 

Later, I was able to get this photo:



I will show you the back of the quilt as soon as I get it finished.  I'm thinking about the quilting.  Right now, I'm thinking something very simple - perhaps a crosshatch?  What do  you think?  Any great ideas?

That's it from the Robertson household. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

WIP Wednesday

     I don't know about you, but I read so many blogs and so admire seeing Work In Progress photos and then, it seems like almost the next blog, the project is finished.  I mean completely finished! 
     Well, I will not be that kind of blogger and sewist, but I thought it only right that I post some Works in Progress and see if I can become motivated to more quickly finish my projects.  I'm hoping that I'll put the images out there and then "own" the finish - not that anyone is actually reading this blog right now, but that could change!

So here we go with a couple of WIP:

Scrap Depression Blocks  


     I have some partially completed blocks in the upper photo, left side.  BAMQG is having a Sew Day this Saturday and these blocks will be with me to work on.  I think I need about 20 more to finish the project.   Some of these blocks came to me by way of the flicker Scrapbuster Swap (http://www.flickr.com/groups/modmosiac/).  This is a great swap if you enjoy swaps - Round 7 is gearing up.  Each round is a different block, but all blocks are scrap blocks.

Scrap String Blocks

   
      
     This is a paper pieced block.  While I have used computer paper, recycling phone books (if you still have any) by using the pages from the phone book works really well.  The paper is so thin, it tears off really easily.  It still pays to reduce your stitch length so that it is really, really easy to remove the paper backing (do you note the voice of experience here?  - I just hate  forgetting to reduce my stich length and using computer paper, then lamenting how my stitches are pulling out as I try to remove the paper...arghhhh!)  You can make the block without paper piecing, but I don't find the result is as good. 

     I really like the look of this block - it's very dramatic.  I don't really know how many more blocks I will make because I haven't decided how big this quilt should be.  It's so visual that maybe a wall quilt or lap quilt size is large enough.  What do you think?

     I'll try to show some photos of these 2 finished projects (plus the stacked quilt top that I showed you last time) in the near future.  I'm really excited about finishing the stacked quilt because it is for my bed.  Now that I have decided on the backing, I just have to complete that and I'm good to go.  Wootwoot! 

     I hope that your Wednesday is going wonderfully and that you are finding joy in the midst of your busy life. 

     That's it from the Robertson household this WIP Wednesday. 















Monday, January 16, 2012

Monday of the Three Day MLK Weekend

Where did the weekend go?  Three days to enjoy our vacation home in Gold Country, cooking and sewing.  The weekend is over with and I did not get any blogging done.  Now that I am back in the Bay Area, I am determined to give you a snapshot of the weekend with some quilty content.

First of all - no snow in Yosemite or anywhere in Tuolumne County.  And, to make matters worse, no rain for two months.  All the snow in Seattle and Portand is staying there right now.  We may get some weather coming in around Thursday.  The creek behind my house is almost dry.  Boo enjoyed his time in the yard, but we will all have to worry about fire season in the late spring and summer if the drought continues.




     The days are sunny with clear skies and the nights are cold.  Went down to 20F last night.  My brother and sister-in-law came for dinner Saturday night (grilled lamb, roasted potatoes, salad and bread pudding).  Sunday night we went to their house for pot roast, chard, homemade bread and the left over bread pudding.  I forgot to take pictures of dinner, any dinner...perhaps the Tobin James Reserve Zinfandel or the chardonnary?? 

     Here are a few photos of the inside of my vacation home.  You can see some of my antique quilt collection in the pie safe and the cabinet.  I have collected antiques for years, culled down my collection when I moved to California, but kept a few.





     I have antique quilts that I have collected as well as quilts that my grandmother made and 2 quilts that her mother made (they lived in Elkhart, Indiana before my grandmother married my grandfather).

    I did work on some scrap blocks to add to the blocks that I received in  Scrapaholic Block Swap 3 or 4.  I also took a few photos of my stacked quilt top and worked out what the back will look like.  I'll show you the back when I have it together.  Here's the top:





     Hope you and yours had a wonderful long weekend.  Did you get any sewing done?  Or share a great meal with family or friends?  Please share your fun.

     Let us not forget Martin Luther King's dream - that no child shall be judged by their color.  And I add let no child be judged by their gender or sexual orientation.  Let us look forward to a day when each child is able to grow and flourish to the best of his or her ability.

    And that's it from the Robertson household this MLK weekend.  

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Best Peanut Butter Cookies

Happy Monday All!

Do you like peanut butter cookies as much as I do?  I have THE best peanut butter cookie recipe that always gives good results!



Did I mention super easy?  These little gems come together so quickly and easily.  You mix the dough, chill the dough for a few hours (or overnight as I did) and then bake them up.  Stacks of yummie deliciousness in just a few minutes.  Double the recipe as these cookies go very quickly!  Here's the recipe:

                        1/2 cup soft shortening (half butter)
                        1/2 cup peanut butter
                        1/2 cup granulated sugar
                        1/2 cup brown sugar (packed)
                        1 egg
                        1-1/4 cups flour
                        1/2 tsp. baking powder
                        3/4 tsp. baking soda
                        1/4 tsp. salt

     Mix the shortening, peanut butter, sugars and egg thoroughly.  Measure flour by dip-level-pour method.  Blend all dry ingredients; stir in to wet ingredients.  Chill.  Heat oven to 375.  Roll dough into balls the size of large walnuts.  Place 3" apart on lightly greased baking sheet.  Flatten the balls with a fork dipped in flour (crisscross).  Bake 10-12 minutes.  Makes about 3 doz. cookies.
 
  These photos should help with size of "large walnuts" and how to flatten the dough before baking.




And that's that for peanut butter cookies!  Let me know if you make these cookies and enjoy them as much as I do. 

Now for quilty things:

This past Saturday was the Bay Area Modern Quilt Guild meeting.  We meet at the Redwood City library once a month.  This is the beginning of year 3 for the guild and we are growing by leaps and bounds (we meet the first Saturday of each month from 1 to 5 - the first 2 hours are meeting time and then we sew together for the remaining time).  I am the Vice President again this year.  It's a lot of work, but I always come away from our meetings so invigorated and excited about quilting.

We are having a Sew Day on January 21 from 10 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Los Altos Library (in the Community Room).  The library is on San Antonio - easy to find and easy parking.  If you are nearby, please stop in and see what we are up to.

Then we are having a retreat weekend the last weekend of February at the Los Gatos Lodge.   Should be a wonderful weekend of quilting with lots of fun activities and a group dinner on Saturday night. 

That's it for the Robertson household for Monday, January 9. 


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Second Blog in 2012

Hi All,
I've gone from being a non-blogger to blogging twice in one day.  I looked at my blog after it was published and saw that I titled it January 4, 2011.  My first blog and I can't get the date right...oh well, I'll be more careful in the future.

To make this worthwhile, I'm adding a picture of Boo, the doodle dog.


This picture is Boo with the Not a Christmas Quilt that I'll show you next time. 

Sorry for the date booboo.  I'm a beginner.  I promise you I'll get better.

Good night.

January 4, 2011

Hello All,

This is my first post to my blog - a new beginning for a New Year.  I have been thinking about starting a blog for quite some time, but somehow just never got started.  I think I was just afraid that I wouldn't have anything of interest to share on a regular basis.  I admire so many quilters and their ability to blog and create beautiful quilts at the same time.  I hope that I will be able to learn and progress as I get better at this blogging thing.

Now on to quilty things.  Today, in the mail, I received a yard of Heather Ross Lightening Bugs and Other Mysteries goldfish in a bag, blue on white background!  An entire yard!  I went on EBay and bid on this piece of fabric and actually won the auction.  I have been wanting some of this fabric for quite some time.  Now, I have to think about how to use it. 

I have a few photos to show you of quilts that I made in 2011.  Hopefully I will be even more productive in 2012.  Here are a few of my projects:


Sunflower Quilt



I finished this quilt in 2011 and entered it into the New Quilts of Northern California special exhibit at the Pacific International Quilt Festival.  It was accepted and I was proud to see it hanging in the exhibition hall.

Next we have Flower Power.  This is an original design of mine that I gave as a Christmas gift this year.  It's happily living in Visalia, California as you read this.

Flower Power

Then we have Snowballs in Summer, my homage to Denyse Schmidt and summer.  I thought it would be nice to have a picnic quilt that was big enough to have space for several guests.
Snowballs in Summer

I had some quilty math issues that I tried to cleverly conceal.  Can you see what I did wrong?  Hint - look in the lower right block...

Anyway, time to feed the Doodle and get on to a little quilting.